Blog: Carmel Hopkins - QI and Me

06 August 2019

I didn’t have the opportunity to travel in the Apollo Luna Module to the moon in order to help me understand QI, but if I had, I know it would have helped.

Why? We all know Neil Armstrong et al didn’t get to the moon after a couple of focus groups, a quick guess on the fuel consumption and fingers crossed that Aristarchus (Greek astronomer 270BC) was right about the distance to the moon.

No. They most certainly used a QI approach. Yes way back in 1969 – QI who knew? It probably involved lot’s of complicated mathematical calculations, the kind you’re taught at school and think I’ll never use that in my life (well now you know who does) and that’s why some of us, me being one of them, are put off using a QI approach. Well QI doesn’t have to use complicated maths because the way to improvement comes in all shapes and sizes. Don’t over think it, don’t over complicate it and don’t think it’s just you who is responsible for the improvement.

QI is just an organised way to identify an improvement.

Nasa didn’t solve every identified process problem from start to finish in one go. Granted they didn’t take off until they had, instead they broke it down into manageable steps and engaged with people that they needed to engage with. That for me was my ‘the eagle has landed’ moment. Before, I just saw the problem as too complicated and too big, and it never really occurred to me to improve parts of the process gradually. After all, improving part of the process is still an improvement.

What the QI training did for me was provide me with lots of methodologies and measuring tools and I was able to pick those that were useful to me based on the improvement I am trying to make.

The process for improvement is easier than you think 

  • Identify the problem
  • Consider what happens now
  • Ask what could be done differently
  • Test out the change
  • Make the change and monitor it

It’s not like I’m reaching for the moon, for my QI project I want to improve the way we manage and support our employees when unintentional things happen or when things don’t go according to policy.

The Disciplinary Process in many organisations is all too often seen as a stick to beat people with when it’s true purpose is to bring about an improvement. We do have to have a process to address issues but we have a choice about how we shape those processes to make them more person centred and less daunting.

My QI aim is to improve the disciplinary process for both employee and employer by:

  • Reducing the time to complete the process
  • Improve the communication and support to employees before, during and after
  • Continue to improve on our open, honest and transparent approach
  • Maximise the opportunity to address matters informally

This is our policy; we all have to follow it, so why not get involved in improving it?

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